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Weekly tips and encouragement to help you handle stress, stay fit, and find joy in parenting

How Learning How to Stop Children from Arguing Can Help You Achieve Your Own Goals

As parents, we like our children to respect our answer and not try to argue or negotiate. So we learn to communicate in such a way as to say that our decision is final. Why not apply that same strategy to the way you talk to yourself. For example, if I'm trying to not eat something unhealthy, I find it simplest to just say to myself "absolutely not" instead of turning over the idea in my mind until I am likely to cave. I give myself the answer and then I immediately move on without dwelling on the pleasure, smell or taste. If I know an apple is better for me than a pastry, I can just decide and move on but if I think about it too long, the chances increase that I'll go the other way. Naturally, this applies to many choices and not just...

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Why Maternity and Paternity Leave Is Good for Both Families and Companies

Finding the balance between active parenting and all other life demands is one of the most important decisions parents need to make. One company has decided to help. Netflix announced this week that they will be offering unlimited maternity and paternity leave to their employees much as they already offer unlimited vacation and sick leave. Other tech companies have also found similar policies to pay them back with loyal employees who stay. In fact, after Google expanded its maternity leave from 12 weeks to 18 weeks, new mothers left the company at half the rate they did previously.

The Netflix policy applies to the first year after a child is born or adopted. Both parents can take as much time off as they need and can choose to work part...

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How to Avoid Emotional Eating

Being a mom means a lot of emotional ups and downs. Sometimes, during the down times, there may be a desire to soothe and comfort yourself. For many people the go to way to do this is with food. Unfortunately, the foods involved are usually higher in sugar and fat. But even if they are healthy choices, a lot of emotional eating will still add unnecessary calories.

On the flip side, emotional eating can also be a part of happy emotions if used to express love. Children take all of this in and begin to form habits around how food connects to emotions. They follow the examples they see. Quieting an upset child with food sets them up for a life time of turning to food for comfort. If you find yourself doing this, think back to how you...

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Eb and Flow Parenting: Helping Your Child Succeed

There are all kinds of programs out there to make your child a better reader, better student, better swimmer, better athlete, etc. As parents, it is our job to give our children the best start in life. So we load up on parenting books and magazines, Suzuki Violin lessons, on better baby this and that. We hand our children computers and tablets and anything else we think might boost their chances. What a wonderful intention.

All the while, as we add more and more activities and objects, we feel frenetic and frazzled ourselves. Some of us are balancing demanding careers and child raising and others have made child raising our career. And yet, we all feel the nagging question, "Is what I am doing the best for my children".

Children need...

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How You and Your Child Can Learn Anything

Children love to learn new skills and feel competent. Doing the daily EV program with them builds this joyful feeling. Character is built in small doses over a long period of time and in special teachable moments where a new idea that is timely takes root. The physical skills are also built over time but maybe don't require as much time as you think. Here's a fun argument that 20 hours is all you need to get good at physical fitness activities.

No, it's not enough to become an elite athlete but it is enough to develop enough skill,coordination and strength to begin to see yourself as someone who could train more intensely for any sport. It opens the door if that is an area your child wants to pursue.

With confidence that comes from...

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Holiday Traditions that Burn Some Calories

My family walks several miles to watch the lighting on the Plaza every year. My husband and I started doing this when we first knew each other as teenagers. Now, we include our kids and grandkids. Crowds gather and it's a community tradition with spontaneous Christmas carols and lots of happy faces.

How about you? Any active traditions associated with the holidays?

We walk around the neighborhood at Christmas time with a scavenger list of things to find like wreathes, angels, penguin, Mrs. Claus etc. As my children have grown, we still do this together as adults. It's a nice way to reconnect with good memories.

I actually took a group of adult triathletes down to the plaza last year to play a version of this game. First, of course, we...

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Kindness Transforms Lives

Kindness transforms lives. It might transform the recipient but it most surely will transform the one who does the act of kindness. Emerson said,"One of the most beautiful compensations in life is that no man can help another without helping himself."

As we go about our busy days, every act of kindness towards a child will plant a seed of kindness in their heart. There is no better way to teach kindness than to be kind.

During the fifteen minute Exercising Values time with your children, see how many times and how many ways you can demonstrate kindness. Applaud your child's efforts, show them how to do a new movement, let them decide whether to be inside or out or to have music or not. Take some extra minutes to share in the day's story...

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The Heart of a Child Lives On

I wanted to share this video from Nikosi, a young AIDS victim, whose winning spirit and smile remind us how precious each child is. Thank you for investing your time with Exercising Values to give your children a solid foundation for health and character. And thank you for your efforts to support children in need wherever you find them.

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5 Actions to Be a Happier Parent with Happier Children Today

The tag line of Exercising Values has always been happy, healthy, well-behaved  children in fifteen minutes a day. There is a balance to these three goals.

Happiness that is gained through permissive and self-centered behavior is fleeting and produces no long-lasting ability to stay joyful and serene through varied circumstances.

Healthy behaviors that are coerced are also unlikely tot last even when they are self-imposed. Just ask any dieter who has regained the weight after forcing themselves to comply to a set of rules and restrictions for a time.

I hesitated to even associate the term well-behaved with EV because it could lead to focus on outward behaviors that may or may not come from inner conviction. EV takes the approach...

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Rising Above the Situation: How to Gain a New Perspective on Change

I'm posting today from way above the clouds, in an airplane headed to Orlando. As the plan took off and I gazed out my window, I noted what a change of perspective is available at altitude. Then, I began to wonder how we can best metaphorically rise above the problems that daunt us and gain a new perspective on what it would take to change a troubling situation. Every day, I do coach people to make changes in their lives. So to get better at that task,  I've been perusing a book on motivational change while making my way from Kansas City to Orlando via a route that included a brief stay in Milwaukee. ( I don't suppose I'll ever understand the airline business and why we can't just travel in a straight line.)

This morning I had the...

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